Stewart Johnson Crook, 85, was born May 6, 1933, in Alton, Kentucky, to Silas and Gotha Crook. He passed away on February 18, 2019, in Suwanee, Georgia.
Stewart met the love of his life, Martina Martin, at Collegedale Academy, and they were married on August 19, 1951. He began a music degree at Southern Missionary College, finished the degree in 1957 at Madison College, and later would obtain a master of music education degree at the University of Tennessee.
He began his denominational career as dean of men at Madison College. From there he began teaching music at Mt. Pisgah Academy, Shenandoah Valley Academy, and Southern Missionary College, where he started the first SMC men’s chorus, called the Encomium Singers.
Stewart and Martina’s love for teenagers and young adults and a desire for helping them led Crook from teaching music to accepting calls to enter administration: principal of Jefferson Academy and principal of Mount Pisgah Academy. He became the youth director for the Carolina Conference and was instrumental in the initial development of Nosoca Pines Ranch. In 1974 he returned to teaching music at Georgia-Cumberland Academy.
From 1977 to 1981, the Crooks served together as he pastored several churches in the Georgia-Cumberland and Kentucky-Tennessee conferences. He enjoyed this ministry immensely, but his career took a completely different direction when he was called to be the assistant director of trust services for the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference, and eventually became the director. He also served as director of trust services at Southern College and then at the Southern Union Conference. He enthusiastically embraced learning, achieving the Certified Financial Planner certificate and designation, and becoming an expert in planned giving and trust services. Crook retired in 1997 after 40 years of service for the Adventist church.
Soon, he discovered he was not really suited for retirement, and took a position with Georgia State University in planned giving, followed by a stint with St. Jude’s Research Hospital. After several years, he retired for the second time.
Stewart and Martina began to experience health challenges, and they moved to Altamonte Springs, Florida, to be closer to family. They quickly acclimated to the weather and never considered moving again. He couldn’t really stay retired, so he worked for several years on a part-time basis with Florida Conference trust services, where his expertise and marketing skills were sought after.
Crook never lost his love for music and was always involved with choirs, choruses, quartets, instrumental groups, and giving private lessons. He could play every brass and woodwind instrument, and made a hobby of collecting used instruments which he often loaned to his students until they could get an instrument of their own. He lived a life dedicated in ministry to others.
He is survived by his two daughters, Delby (Ken) West and Marciann (Jay) Robertson; son-in-law, Rick Makatche; one brother, Don Crook; seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Stewart was preceded in death by his parents, Silas and Gotha Crook; brother, Joel Crook; daughter, Jodi Crook Makatche; and his wife of almost 67 years, Martina Martin Crook. The memorial service was conducted by James King, pastor, at the Florida Living Church in Apopka, Florida.
Southern Union | July 2019